Having adequate upper body strength will give you the ability to hold your form when running. If your upper body breaks down, your technique will get sloppy, which then increases your chances of injury.
Simple bodyweight strength moves like push-ups, inverted rows and chin-ups can give you plenty of upper body strength that is needed for enhanced running.
Specific strength work should be intertwined with your running program throughout the entire year.
Think Quality Over Quantity
You need a basic foundation of aerobic fitness to be a successful runner. This takes months, sometimes years of consistent training.
When you're constantly focused on running volume, overuse injury can quickly occur. Instead, make your prime objective quality running miles and eliminate the junk mileage from your training program.
As an alternative, create a schedule where you have a goal every training session. For example:
- Workout #1: 10-minute warm up, 15-minute tempo run, 5-minute race pace run, 10 minutes cool down.
- Workout #2: 2-mile warm up, 6 by 400 yards on the track, 1-mile cool down.
- Workout #3: 2-mile warm up, 8 by 1-minute pick ups at 5K race pace, 20 minutes endurance pace run.
Smart Program Design
Random training might get you results in the short term. Eventually this type of training will prevent you from making significant progress in your performance.
Ideally, you would want to build a long-term training plan that will progressively build your fitness as you prepare for your top race or event.
This structured plan will lay out specific training blocks during the weeks, months and even years of your preparation. Along with this detailed plan, understanding proper volume loads will keep you moving forward.
You don't want to increase training volume (number of miles or hours) more than 10 percent each month of training. For example, if you ran 50 miles in the first month,don't increase your mileage beyond 55 miles in the following month.
Eventually your volume will reach its capacity and you'll drop mile volume and add in intensity (speed work, hill training etc.), which will give you more quality workouts.
Take some time to layout a specific training block leading up to your most important race. You should have weekly training sessions designated to build your fitness and achieve the goal you set out for.